Chronicles of Wanderer

Hunter's Moon

By Michael Weyer

Based on an storyline by Tim Knight

 

 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, all rights and properties owned by Mutant Enemy

Highlander, all rights and properties owned by Rysher Entertainment

Steve St Wolf, Randi and Brian Jessup and the Wandererverse created by Steve Pantovich

Shaw Hunter, Ulric Johannson and Jessica created by Tim Knight

Robin Goodfellow, Liam Danahure, Zev Mundac, Matthew Conners, Megan Maguire, Alice

Fairchild, Perry Leiter, Valerie Rosthon, Kyra Saunders and Jesse Manoau are my own creations

and belong to me.

 

 

SPOILERS:

 

1. Buffy died fighting the Master in Season 1 and became Immortal.

2. Buffy's death triggered Kendra as the Slayer. When Kendra was badly wounded, Faith was

called as a Slayer. Kendra is not dead and Faith is not evil.

3. Joyce Summers is alive and is a foster mother for Kendra and Faith.

4. Jenny Calendar was not killed by Angelus and is engaged to Rupert Giles.

5. Amy Madison is not a rat, nor evil.

6. Jenny, Willow, Cordelia and Amy are Amazons, blessed with fighting abilities by the Greek

Goddess Artemis.

7. Xander, Giles, Oz, Larry and Shaw carry equal empowerments from Robin Goodfellow.

8. Zev Mundac lives in Sunnydale, working as teacher at the college and helping run Joyce's

antiques shop while dating her.

9. Dawn Summers is the Key, a powerful source of energy made into human form with

everyone's memories altered to accept her. Only the Eternals (Robin, Liam, Artemis, etc) know

the truth and are keeping it quiet.

 

Tim came up with this idea and we traded a lot of e-mails on it. I feel it's only right that I bring his vision to life. I hope to do him proud. This is more his work than mine. Hope you enjoy.

 

 

Part one: In which a new term begins and some new faces are assigned to visit.

 

 

Joyce Summer's Home

Sunnydale, CA

September 6th, 1999

0729 Hours PST

 

 

 

     Joyce Summers had come to the conclusion that the duties of the Slayer were nothing

compared to the duties of a mother to three Slayers and another teenager.

     She was in the middle of her kitchen, in a nice dress, a phone pressed against her ear while

she tried to handle the three pans cooking on the stove. "Yes...yes, I understand but can you...yes

I'll hold," she sighed, mixing some eggs together on one plate.

     Dawn Summers entered the room, clad in a pair of jeans and a low-cut shirt that showed

off a bare belly, her brown hair nicely brushed behind her. She looked to the occupants of the

table. Her sister Buffy was wearing a nice mini-skirt and light blouse that went well with her

atlhetic form. Kendra was clad in a dark pair of slacks and purple top, her braided hair pulled back

in a ponytail. "You two seem pretty okay with going back to school," Dawn stated.

     "Benefits of college life," Buffy said with a smile as she bit into a piece of bacon. "We

don't have to worry about a strict class schedule."

     "Indeed," Kendra stated. "Our days are far less restrictive than------"

     "GANGWAY!" Faith Pryce yelled as she burst into the kitchen. Her dark hair was still

wet from a shower, her jeans and tight shirt obviously just thrown on and she appeared out of

breath. She grabbed a waiting glass of orange juice, downing it as she took a handful of bacon and

started to chow down on it.

     "Guess you shouldn't have killed the alarm, huh, Faith?" Buffy asked.

     "Shut up!" Faith mumbled through a mouth of food.

     "So, you can do that? Tomoorow? Excellent!" Joyce said through the phone. "No, no, my

partner will have the paperwork. Thank you very much." She switched the cordless off and turned

to the others. "Okay, I'm almost ready to-----" She stopped as she gazed at her younger daughter.

"Dawn, where are you going?"

     "Um, school?" the teen asked in confusion.

     Joyce shook her head. "Not dressed like that you're not. I am not having you show up at

school dressed like something out a music video."

     "Mom..." Dawn whined.

     Joyce simply pointed upstairs and with a sigh, Dawn turned to walk off. Buffy smiled at

Kendra. "Told you."

     Kendra shrugged. "I would have thought living with Faith would have eased Joyce's

intolerance for trampy outfits."

     Faith just glared as she wolfed down her breakfast. Buffy smirked at Kendra. "Notice how

she's not being so cocky about me being a freshman again?"

 

 

Apartment of Oz Green

0737 Hours PST

 

     As Willow's eyes opened, she saw the man she loved lying next to her, propping his head

up one elbow as he looked at her. "What is it?" she asked.

     "Nothing," Oz replied. "I just love watching you sleep."

     "I would have thought you'd love to see me in other situations," Willow teased as she

kissed him on the lips. She then cuddled into his arms. "I wanna sleep in."

     "Can't. Class."

     "Wanna sleep in," Willow pouted.

     "I thought you wanted to be the bright-eyed for college type."

     "You've been a bad influence on me," the redhead sighed as she reluctantly got ready.

     Oz smirked. "Hey, at least we're not as bad as Giles and Jenny."

     Willow frowned as she face him. "What do you mean?"

     "Well, they have to live in the same building underneath Xander and Cordelia," her

boyfriend pointed out. "Imagine how they're starting the morning."

     Willow did and then giggled.

 

 

Home of Robin Goodfellow

0740 Hours PST

 

     Amy Madison was a vision as she lay on the bed. Her blonde hair fell back on the pillow,

her face serene as her firm chest rose and fell with each breath. It was a sight that Robin

Goodfellow dragged out for as long as he could. Finally, with a glance at the alarm clock, he

snapped his fingers. From all around the bed came the music of "Reville" as if blasted over a THX

SurroundSound system.

     Amy sat up with a shriek, her head whipping around. There was another snap of fingers

and the Amazon witch found herself fully dressed as was Robin. At the table by the bed was a

stack of books and a cup of hot coffee.

     Amy glared at her boyfriend. "Why didn't you wake me up?!"

     "I did," he calmly answered.

     Amy sighed. "I meant in a normal way."

     "Because it would have taken you too long to shower, get dressed and get your stuff

ready."

     "So why didn't you wake me up so I could do all that?!"

     Robin smiled. "Because you look beautiful when you're sleeping."

     Amy's ire instantly vanished as she moved in and kissed him on the lips. *Damn, I'm

good* the faery thought to himself. *Plus it helps that, unlike Shaw and Liam, we don't have to

worry about cleaning up the house after a night together.*

 

 

Sunnydale University

0832 Hours PST

 

     Randi Jessup tapped her pen on her folder as she shuffled in her seat. She wore a nice red

dress with her blonde hair in a ponytail, a nice image for her first day of class. She looked at the

pile of books on her desk and sighed deeply. *Take languages, you said. How bad can the course

work be, you said...*

     The door banged open and the twenty-six students in the classroom all looked at the man

who strode in. Randi did as well...and felt a chill go over her. *Oh, God...I thought he was

joking...*

     The man plopped his briefcase onto the table, opened it and pulled out a stack of papers.

"Good morning. Welcome to Introduction to Languages. I'm your instructor, Zev Mundac."

     He began to hand the packets to each row of students. "Let me make this clear and to the

point right now. Do the work and be on time and you'll do all right. Don't and you'll fail. I am

giving a precise schedule of when assignments are due so I don't expect any attempt at

explanation if you fail to turn them in. Any attempts at plagirism or cheating shall be dealt with

severely." He returned to the desk and faced the room. "I am not going to be an easy mark for

any pity stories or excuses so save them. Anger me and I shall be sure to make your life a living

hell. Trust me, I have my experience in that subject." He smiled. "Let's begin, shall we?"

 

 

Steve St. Wolf's Home

1004 Hours PST

 

     On the third ring, Steve St. Wolf picked up the phone and spoke into it. "Hello?"

     "Steve? It's Joe Dawson," came the voice on the other end.

     "Hey, Joe, what's up?"

     "Well, I was wondering if you and the gang might be able to give me a hand with

something."

     Steve frowned. "Uh oh. What?"

     Joe sighed. "Well, it seems that we've got a problem with one of our Watchers. Valerie

Rosthon, third-generation Watcher. It seems she doesn't believe in the tape we had of what

happened in L.A. and doesn't believe in the Scroll either."

     "Oh, shit," Steve muttered. "I take it that means her Immortal doesn't either?"

     "Nope. And its Immortals, plural." There was the sound of shuffling papers. "Matthew

Connors. Died for the first time at Bunker Hill. He got a student in 1997, Alice Fairchild, senior in

high school. Mulder and Scully can tell you about them."

     "I'll give them a call. Anyone else?"

     "Jesse Manoau, 18. Died while surfing last year, didn't know it until this July. Other one is

Kyra Saunders, killed in a mountain climbing accident around the same time. Oh, there's also

Perry Leiter. He's a medical examiner and newbie Watcher."

     "So all of them think the Game is still going?" Steve nodded. "Yeah, we need to nip this in

the bud fast. I take it you want us to teach them otherwise?"

     "You got it," Dawson confirmed. "They should be there later tonight."

     Steve raised an eyebrow. "Really? You already called?"

     "No. I left that to...someone else."

 

 

Matthew Connor's Home

Hastings Bay, MA

1317 Hours EST

 

 

     Alice Fairchild had never realized how much she had missed having a friend.

     It shouldn't have been too surprising she had cut herself off from people. The last time she

had belonged to a group of friends, they had all been killed by the same murderer who made Alice

Immortal. Since then, she had kept mostly to herself with only Matt and Megan to talk to.

However, since Kyra Saunders had entered the Immortal picture, Alice had found herself bonding

with the other teen.

     It was ironic considering how dissimaliar the two were. While Alice was athletic and enjoyed

shopping, Kyra was a bit more studious and musically inclined. Even their styles clashed. Alice

was clad in a nice skirt and light blouse, her dark brown hair pulled back in a ponytail. Kyra was

wearing a pair of dark jeans and biker-style red top with long sleeves that ended with fabric

wrapping from her wrist and around a couple of her fingers. She sat in a chair in Matt's living

room, lightly strumming a guitar as she looked at a book.

     Alice watched her with a frown, her eyes on the book's jacket. "Wicca for Beginners?"

she stated. "I can't believe you're wasting time on that crap."

     "It's not crap," Kyra replied as she looked up at Alice. Her lush mane of curly brown hair

framed a pretty face with a sharp nose and deep blue eyes, bangs set over her forehead. "Wicca

has a long history that could be

real. Hell, Immortals and vampires exist, why not magic?"

     "Well, why do you want to learn it?" Alice pressed. "What, you want to be a Betwiched

Britney?"

     Krya's face fell. "Never compare me to her again."

     Both girl suddenly tensed as they sensed another presence. "Saved by the Buzz," Alice

sighed.

     Kyra shivered. "God, that is so weird."

     "You get used to it," Alice shrugged as they both looked at the doorway as Jesse Manoau

entered. He appeared to be 18, a good looking young man with short dark hair and skin that made

it easier to believe he had been born in Hawaii. He wore a pair of light shorts and a muscle shirt,

showing off the pineapple tattoo on one shoulder. "Ladies," he said as he wiped at his brow with

a towel. "How's it going?"

     "Hey, Jess," Alice said. She looked over his sweaty body. "You been working out?"

     He nodded. "Yeah, figured it was a good move. Need to stay in shape just in case, right?"

He took a long drink for a bottle of water. Alice noticed that Kyra was watching him out of the

corner of her eye, then turned away as Jesse turned toward her.

     "So, Matt still upstairs?" Jesse asked.

     Alice nodded. "Yeah. Still don't know what Val and Perry want with him. Sounded

important."

     "Great," Kyra said with a sigh. "Just what my life needed, more complications."

     "Such is our lot in eternal life," Alice remarked.

     It was at that moment that the teacher to the three teens entered the room. Matthew

Connors was clad in a pair of nice slacks and golf shirt, his face serious. Behind him was Valerie

Rosthon, as professional as always in a business skirt, blouse and jacket, her darkish hair in a bun.

Perry Leiter was dressed more casually, with jeans and a Hawiaan shirt and his dark hair.

     "So what's the haps?" Kyra asked.

     Matthew shook his head. "I'm not sure yet. Some bigwig from the Watchers is supposed

to be coming by later."

     "What about?" Alice asked.

     "I don't know," Valerie admitted. "But I don't like it. They rarely pay personal calls unless

it's important."

     Matthew snorted. "Maybe they've put together a special edition of that videotape."

     "Yeah," Alice threw in. "Maybe now we've got big monsters and people flying around in

it."

     "You think they know you don't believe in the Scroll?" Jesse asked with concern.

     "I don't see how," Valerie answered. "Even if they do, I don't think it'll be a real serious

matter."

     "And you'd be wrong, Rosthon," a deep voice cut through the room. Everyone turned to

see a tall man striding into the room, dressed in the uniform of the United States Navy, the bars of

an Admiral on his shoulder. He crossed his arms, the light seeming to gleam a bit off his balding

head. "Admiral James Chegwidden," he introduced himself. "Senior Watcher for East Coast

military operations."

     "How did you get in here?" Matt demanded.

     "I'm a military Watcher, we've got means," Cheggwidden said. He turned his hard gaze

on Valerie. "Rosthon...you are so far up shit creek, your paddle wouldn't make a dent in it."

     Valerie opened her mouth but the Admiral plowed on. "You have done a massive

disservice to both the Watchers and your charges with your bullshit games. If it was up to me,

you'd be bounced out on your ass but we're giving you a chance. You six are to pack your bags

and catch the next flight to Sunnydale, California."

     Valerie frowned. "Sunnydale? Why?"

     "So you can find out what Watchers are really supposed to do," Cheggwidden snapped.

He looked to the Immortals. "And you can find out what Immortals are supposed to do."

     Matthew crossed his arms across his chest. "I'm retired, Admiral. And it was from the

Army, anyway. I don't take orders from you."

     Cheggwidden's face glowered. "Then maybe I should call Sgt. Madison Summers."

     Matthew raised an eyebrow in surprise. "He's still around? Well, he was a bit of a hard-ass

but I don't see why------"

     "You might know him by another name," Cheggwidden interrupted. "Maximus Decimus

Meridas."

     There was dead silence as everyone stared at him in shock. "The...the...THE Maximus

Decimus Meridas?!" Perry blurted.

     Cheggwidden nodded. "Yep. And trust me, he's not happy about this either and is more

than willing to kick some ass to rectify the situation."

     Matt tried to remain calm and looked Cheggwidden in the eye. "Listen, Admiral. I don't

care who you call on or who comes over here. I am not dropping everything to go to California

for some stupid tape and I don't care what you say."

 

 

Flight 347 from Boston to Los Angeles

22, 000 feet over the Mid-West

1748 Hours CST

 

     "So, what did the lad say?" Megan Maguire asked as she sat back in her seat. Her lush mane of

curly red hair flowed behind her, accenting her beautiful face. She wore a tight green dress that

accented every curve of her voluptous body, especially her ample chest. She smiled as she sipped

at her glass of wine, her Irish brogue seemingly still hanging in the air.

     "You don't want to know," Alice stated, sparing a glance at a sour-looking Matt. He sat

next to Megan in the front, Alice, Jesse and Kyra behind them and Perry and Val were across the

aisle. All of them wore the look of people who still couldn't believe they were going on a trip.

     Valerie was staring out the window with a hard expression. "I just can't get over how he

was treating me. Like I was some sort of traitor or something!" She glared at Perry. "And you

weren't exactly jumping to my defense."

     Perry raised his hands. "Hey, I'm still low man on the totem pole here. I don't want to

make waves with a senior guy."

     "You know, this could be fun," Kyra stated. "I've never been to California. I've got a list

of music clubs in L.A. I wanna check out."

     Alice chuckled. "It's the malls for me. Always wanted to shop on Rodeo Drive."

     "As for me," Jesse added. "I've gotta find out how West Coast waves stack up against

Hawaii."

     Matthew turned and glared at them. "Let's make this clear," he said. "This is not a

sightseeing trip. We didn't choose to do this, we were shoved into it. We are going there,

spending one night to tell these people we don't need them and then coming back."

     "Ah, ease up, Matt," Megan stated. "A vacation will do ye good! Been a long time since I

was in California."

     "Really?" Jesse asked, honestly curious. "How long?"

     Megan thought about it. "Well, let's just say, last time I was there, baseball had yet to

make it to the West Coast."

     Jesse's eyes widened. "Wow. That long?"

     Megan sat back in her chair. "Ah, it will be nice to get a break from the club. Glad ye

invited me, Matt." She raised her empty glass up. "Barmaiden! A refill, if you will."

     An attractive flight attendant came over with a patened false smile on her face which

didn't match her eyes as she leaned in toward Megan. "Miss, you've already had five glasses. We

do have a policy and I'm afraid we can't just-----"

     Megan looked her in the eye and the woman's face went slowly blank. "A refill, please,"

Megan stated.

     "Sure," the woman said in a flat tone as she took the glass and walked away. Megan

smiled and leaned back in her seat, only to become aware of everyone staring at her. "What?"

     Kyra shook her head, leaning back in her seat next to the window. "God, that freaks me

out," she muttered. For someone who had a belief in the supernatural, Kyra simply wasn't

comfortable around the vampire.

     Valerie didn't bother hiding her disgust. As someone who had felt Megan's hypnotic

power, she didn't like seeing it used on people. "Was that really necessary?"

     "For the price we're paying for these seats, we deserve some perks," Megan defended

herself.

     Perry smirked. "Aren't you worried about karmic retribution?"

     Megan snorted. "I'm an Irish vampire who doesn't feed on innocent people. I think I've

got karma to spare." She smiled broadly. "Besides, how do you think we got first class anyway?"

 

 

Steve St. Wolf's Home

1834 Hours PST

 

 

     The entire Sunnydale team was gathered in the living room as Steve completed the

explanation of who was coming and why. "So, they should be here in about an hour or so. Any

questions?"

     "Yes," Zev spoke up. "Can I skip this?"

     Steve glared at him. "This is important, Zev."

     "Really, Steven. We all know how this is going to work. You're going to meet and greet

and then bring them into the training room, have the Amazons wipe the floor with the women

while Robin's empowered folks get the men, have a big long laugh at the whole thing, which will

be caught on video. Then, after their looks of shock, you'll go into the long litany of who and

what you all are which will take about twenty minutes, minus confused questions from them. Then

you throw in the inevitable proving that magic exists as well as the smart remarks from Shaw and

Faith and the not at all smart ones from Harris and Chase and let's not forget that at least one of

them will try to punch Steve for being with Buffy. Then there's watching the Guardians shift, me

popping my spikes and showing off my computer and for the grand finale, the half-hour long

litany of just what threats you've all faced and defeated in the last two years."

     There was a long silence as everyone stared, impressed by just how much Zev had gotten

out. "Damn, and I thought my wife knew me," Steve murmured.

     Zev sighed as he rose up to his feet. "If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go see if Joyce is

interested in having dinner tonight. The less time I spend in the upcoming insanity pit, the better."

He walked off as Faith looked toward Buffy.

     "Does he know that Joyce is out shopping with Dawn later?" the brunette asked.

     Buffy acted surprised. "Did I forget to tell him that?"

 

 

2008 Hours PST

 

     "This is it?" Alice said as she stared at Steve's house. "This is the command center the guy

was talking about?"

     Kyra and Jesse both broke out in snickers. Alice stared at them in puzzlement. "What?"

     Kyra smiled. "You just said 'command center,' Ranger-Girl."

     Alice glowered at them. "Don't start. Okay? Don't even start."

     Perry grunted as he pulled at one case in the trunk. "God, Alice, it's only a few days,

what'd you pack?" He tried to pull again but the heavy case didn't budge. Megan lightly pushed

him aside, grabbed the case and, with a slight tug, easily pulled it out and on the ground. She gave

Perry a small nod as she unloaded the rest of the trunk.

     Perry looked at Valerie. "You gotta admit, she's handy."

     Val just shook her head in disgust as she paid off the driver. She looked around as he

started to drive off. "I have to admit, I am not impressed. For someplace that's supposed to be

filled with demons, this town is pretty quiet."

     "That's cause you're not listening right," Megan stated as she gathered up the bags.

"Trust me...this town isn't Mayberry."

     Matthew took a step toward the house and then paused as the Buzz overcame him. He

glanced at his charges, seeing they all felt it as well. "At least three Immortals in there, maybe

more," he said in a clipped tone. "I'll take point, Megan, you've got the rear, keep it tight and be

ready to move."

     "Remind me never to invite him to a country club," Perry muttered as the group followed

Matthew up the stairs to the porch. Megan let her senses move out, hearing the heartbeats of the

people inside to count how many there were. She paused and took a long sniff with her nose.

*Funny...that almost smells like...naw, it couldn't be...*

     The Immortal soldier knocked on the front door, his arm ready to go for his sword if

needed. The door opened to reveal a handsome man looking at them all. "Hi," he said in a friendly

tone. "Steve St. Wolf. I take it you're the group from Hastings Bay?"

     Matt nodded. "Matthew Connors, United States Army, retired."

     Steve grinned. "Special forces myself. Come on in." He opened the door and one by one,

the group entered.

     Jesse was looking around the foyer. "Nice. Guy must do quite well to----" His words were

cut off as a shrieking sound came over their heads. Everyone yelled, and looked around, trying to

identify the noise. They turned to see Megan, having just come over the threshold, clapping her

hands over her ears and wailing at the sound. "What the bloody hell is-----"

     She looked up in time to see a dozen weapons from guns to swords to stakes, all aimed at

her direction. "Ah, bloody hell."

     Matthew looked to the team as he pointed at Mega. "See, *this* is a real vampire."

 

 
 
 
Chronicles of Wanderer
Hunter's Moon
By Michael Weyer
 
 
     Part two: In which meetings and greetings, old and new, are made.
 
 
Steve St. Wolf's Home
Sunnydale, CA
2010 Hours PST
 
 
     "All right, no one move!" Jenny barked, her hands tight on the pistol 
she had aimed at
Megan's head.
     "I was gonna scratch my nose, is that okay?" Jesse asked. He, Alice, 
Kyra, Matthew, Valerie
and Perry were all frozen, staring in wonder as the group aimed weapons at 
Megan. The alarms
had cut off and the Irishwoman was shaking her head. "Jesus, Mary and 
Joseph, what was that?!"
     Shaw scoffed. "A religious vampire. How unique."
     Megan glanced at her, her nose twitching. "You...you're not human, are 
ye?"
     Shaw shook her head. "No. However I am more than capable to deal with the
likes of you."
     Megan smiled as she let her eyes rake over the group. "I could have 
half of you down before you’ve even realize I moved."
     "Try it," Cordelia challenged, hefting up her gun.
     "Easy, all," an Irish brogue cut through. The group parted as Liam 
pushed his way forward.
"It's ok, lads and lassies. She won't bite."
     Megan's eyes widened, as did her smile. "I'll be damned," she murmured. 
"Tis you after all."
     Liam nodded. "Hello, Megan. Been a while."
     "That it has, laddie," Megan replied.
     Buffy looked at the way the two of them were staring at one another and 
winced. "Oh, God.
Don't tell me, she's------"
     "Number 203," Liam casually told her.
     Shaw glared at him. "Someday, Liam, I am going to make you write down a 
complete list."
     Alice looked at Megan. "Megan, you know this guy?"
     "We were married once," the vampire off-handedly answered.
     That brought quite a few stunned stares from her fellow visitors. "When 
was this?" Matthew
demanded.
     "Few decades back."
     Jesse frowned. "Then...how come he still looks.."
     "He's a leprechaun."
     Jesse blinked. "Oh. You mean like..." He suddenly shifted his voice to 
mock Mike Meyers
as Wayne. "Oh, the leprechaun, the leprechaun, the leprechaun!" His 
chuckling was broken by the
icy look on Liam's face.
     The leprechaun pointed right at him. "Ye do that again...ye die."
     Steve looked to Liam. "Liam...you're saying she's all right?"
     "Megan? Sure, lad! She doesn't even feed on innocent people, never 
has!" He smiled at
his ex-wife. "Sorry about the greeting but ye wouldn't believe the security 
problems these folks
have had."
     Slowly, the Sunnydale group lowered their weapons and tried to relax. 
"Ok..." Kyra
started. "Now what, rubber hose interrogations? Caning?" She looked at 
Alice. "I knew
Californians were nuts already but this..."
     Steve sighed and motioned to the living room. "Come on in, we'll try to 
explain."
     There was a pause as everyone cautiously made their way to the living 
room. As they
walked, Kendra looked closely at Alice, then turned to Buffy. "And you 
called *me* the Pink
Ranger?"
 
     "Okay," Kyra said as soon as the groups were gathered together. "Just 
who are you people?"
     Steve crossed his arms and started to motion around the room. "Buffy 
Summers, Immortal
Vampire Slayer, bearer of the sword Vampire Slayer. Faith Pryce, Vampire 
Slayer. Kendra,
Vampire Slayer." He motioned again to some of the others. "Rupert Giles, 
Earl of Leicester,
former curator of the London Museum, empowered Ripper. Jenny Calendar, 
Amazon Gypsy.
Willow Rosenburg and Amy Madison, Amazon witches. Oz Green, empowered 
werewolf.
Xander Harris, empowered man with the memories of a special forces soldier. 
Cordelia Chase,
Amazon Warrior Princess."
     He turned to the other side. "Randi Jessup, Immortal wielder of the 
sword of Joan of Arc.
Larry Blaisdell, empowered jock. Robin Goodfellow of the Faery Kingdom, NOT 
Puck. Liam
Devlin O'Shaunnesgy Patrick Dillion O'Hara Paddywick McHale Thornton 
Danahure of the
Leprechaun Glens. Shaw Hunter, alias Shawukay Redarrow, priestess of 
Mielikki" He turned to
the group. "And finally, I'm Steve St. Wolf-----"
     "Human subtitle machine," Xander interjected.
     Megan frowned. "Hold a mo. Steve St. Wolf?"
     Steve frowned as well. "You know me?"
     "Not personally," Megan stated as she started to tick off her fingers. 
"Faberge Egg, June
of '96. German harpsichord, January of '97. Persian Rug, May of '97..."
     Steve's eyes widened. "You're that Maguire? Damn, you had good bids 
going."
     Megan snorted. "The people I hired gave up too easily. If I had been 
there, I'd have
gotten it, trust me."
     "Remind me to show you the shops downtown before you go..."
     "Ah, scuse me," Perry spoke up. "But could we get a little more detail 
on that weird-ass
introduction you just did?"
     Megan frowned at him. "What? Makes sense to me."
     Kyra stared at her, then at Cordelia. "Okay...hold up. Amazons?"
     "Yes," Queen C stated. "And if the word lesbian exits your mouth, a 
painful death shall
follow."
     "Let me get this straight," Perry stated. "You gals are Amazons and 
these guys are
empowered by...him," he pointed to Robin. "Who is Robin Goodfellow put not 
Puck."
     "That's right," the faery said.
     Perry thought it over and nodded. "Okay, I believe it."
     Valerie stared at him. "You what?!"
     "Valerie, no one has the imagination to just make up something like 
that," Perry calmly
stated.
     Jesse scratched his chin. "Um, I don't want to be rude but aren't 
Amazons supposed to be
men-hating lesbians? I thought Artemis hated men."
     "Well, that's why it's called myth," Jenny pointed out. "Not all of it 
is true."
     Alice shook her head in disbelief. "You can't ask us to buy this. 
There's no such thing as
magic!"
     There was a long pause before Liam glanced to Jenny. "Ye want to handle 
this?"
     The gypsy let out a slight smile. "I believe this is more inclined to 
your type of
grandstanding."
     Liam nodded and shared a look with Robin. The two nodded and snapped 
their fingers
and six rats were scurrying on the floor around Megan's feet.
     Shaw frowned at Liam. "You did not change her?"
     Liam gave her a surprised look. "Shaw...she's an Irish vampire."
     Shaw pondered that and nodded. "Good point."
     Megan looked at the Slayers. "Hold a mo. I thought there could only be 
one Slayer."
     "Well, I died, so along came Kendra and she nearly died and along came 
Faith," Buffy
explained.
     "An Irish Slayer?" Megan looked Faith up and down. "Haven't heard of 
that one."
     "What can I say?" Faith said with a smile. "Can't mess with 
perfection."
     Megan laughed and looked to Robin and Liam. "Oh, I like her."
     The two Eternals snapped their fingers and the newcomers were in human 
form, all quite
bewildered by what had happened. "Whoa," Kyra said. "That was....whoa...."
     "That's my line," Jesse stated.
     Valerie shook her head. "Okay...what was that? Huh? You drug us or 
something?"
     "It's called magic, lass," Megan said as she took a Cuban cigar out of 
her pocket, placed it
into her mouth and lit it.
     "Um, those are bad for you," Willow piped up.
     Megan looked at her, her eyes briefly turning yellow.
     "Oh. Right."
     Matt glared at Megan. "Magic? Megan, come on. First the video, now 
this?"
     Megan frowned. "What video?"
     Matthew sighed. "I didn't want to tell you about it because it's so 
stupid. It says that
Immortals are supposed to fight demons and vampires but the vamps they had 
are nothing like
you."
     Megan's eyes widened. "What? Matt, why didn't ye tell me about this?"
     Matt blinked. "Why would I tell you such an utterly ridiculous story?"
     "Well, I could have told you it was all utterly true."
     Alice's jaw dropped. "It what?"
     Megan crossed her arms. "Demons are real, Alice. A whole lot of them. 
And there's more
than one type of vampire out there." She turned to the Sunnydale group. "The 
soulless ones,
right?" She nodded at their confirming looks. "I should have known. They're 
a lot more prevalent
than my kind and a hell of a lot nastier."
     "Just how do you differ?" Larry asked in honest curiosity."
     Megan sat back in a chair as she took out a cigar and lit it. "Well," 
she said as she took in
a long drag and blew out a cloud of smoke. "I've still got a reflection plus 
flight, strength, speed
and hypnotism."
     "Thank Goddess she didn't say the whammy," Amy muttered.
     "Wait a minute, wait a minute!" Valerie snapped. "Are you actually 
telling me that this
Scroll thing is for real?"
     "It is," Steve told her as he picked up the phone and dialed a number. 
"And by not
relaying that fact to Matt and the others, you've done some serious damage."
     Valerie sniffed. "I'm just trying to uphold the traditions my family 
has dedicated itself to. I'm not going to spit on their accomplishments because 
someone wanted to end
the Game."
     Steve just nodded as he waited for the person on the other end of the 
line to pick up.
"Hello? Yes, it's St. Wolf. Yes, she's here. Okay." He handed the phone to 
Valerie. With a
baffled look, she took it and spoke into it. "Um...hello?"
     "Valerie, I can't begin to express how immensely disappointed I am in 
you."
     At the strong male voice, Valerie's eyes shot wide open. "DAD?!"
     Charles Rosthon went on. "You've always been strong-willed and 
independent, Valerie. I
have accepted that and allowed for it. But this has gone beyond the pale. 
Regardless of your
personal feelings about the Scroll and the video, you had a duty to inform 
your charges of it. It
was something the Council all agreed upon. So by failing to follow that 
directive and then
knowingly lying about it for over a year to us is something that shall not 
go well for you. Do you
know how many people were demanding you be kicked out? I had to call in 
quite a few favors to
prevent that."
     "But...Dad..."
     "Valerie. The video is real, as is the Scroll. These people can show 
you the truth far more
effectively than I can. You will stay there for as long as it takes and I 
hope you can put aside this
pride of yours and accept this change. If you can't...well, it may be a 
while before I allow you to
come home again. Good-bye." The line went dead as Valerie just stood,
slack-jawed.
     "Interesting," Jesse remarked. "Squint a little and she looks a lot 
like a carp washed up on
shore."
     There was a banging from the front of the house and a minute later, Zev 
tromped in with a
sour look on his face. He glared at Buffy, who just smiled sweetly. "You 
knew they were
shopping, didn't you?"
     "Who, me?" Buffy asked.
     "Who's this?" Alice asked.
     The man turned to her. "Zev Mundac." He peered at her. "You------"
     "I know, I know, the Pink Ranger!" Alice exploded. "Get it out, get it 
all out!"
     "Who?" Zev asked in confusion.
     "The Pink Power Ranger? Mighty Morphin Power Rangers?"
     "Never heard of them." Zev was taken aback as Alice suddenly moved in and 
hugged him.
"Thank you," she whispered.
     Zev looked to the others. "I don't even want to know..."
     Perry looked Zev over. "So...just what are you doing here?"
     "Oh, such a question," Zev sighed deeply. He looked over the recent 
arrivals. "I would
advise you to get out of this town as fast as possible."
     "We've been getting that vibe," Jesse told him.
     Steve clapped his hands together. "Okay. How about we get down to 
business? I think we
should try to hold some sort of patrol schedule tonight. Give these guys a 
crash course in how
Sunnydale works."
     Jesse leaned in toward Kyra. "Whenever people start talking about you 
like you're not
around, it's a bad sign."
     "What and turned into a rat wasn't enough of a sign?" Kyra snapped 
back.
     Steve motioned to the center of the room. "Okay, let's get started."
     As the group started to move in, Alice and Kyra both caught sight of 
Larry. "Wow," Alice
remarked. "Is he single?"
     Faith smirked. "Sorry, honey. He's gay."
     "No!" Alice gasped. She turned to Larry. "Are you gay?"
     "I'm gay," he confirmed.
     "Bastard."
     Matthew raised an eyebrow. "Interesting." He turned to Steve. "Guess 
he's leaving, huh?"
     Steve frowned in puzzlement. "Actually no. He's part of the team."
     Matthew snorted. "Oh, please. You're military, St. Wolf. You know as 
well as I do that
there's no place in a military unit for gays."
     A very long and chilling silence went up as everyone stared at him, the 
Hastings Bay
residents showing more shock than the others. "Tell me he didn't just say 
that," Alice whispered.
     Matthew waved a hand. "I have nothing against gays personally. I just 
don't feel they
belong in the military. I need someone I can depend on."
     "We depend on Larry," Xander told him.
     "Then you're an idiot."
     "Loath as I am to disagree with such an excellent judge of Harris’
character..."
     "HEY!"
     Zev continued. "I must say that this is a rather backward form of 
thinking, even for an
Earthling."
     Matthew sighed as if tired. "Look, if I'm in a battle, I would rather 
not have to worry
about the guy next to me more preoccupied with how I look naked."
     "You know," Larry piped up. "I've gone through a lot of misconceptions 
about being gay
but the one that pisses me off is what idiot came up with the idea that 
being gay automatically
meant I want to sleep with every single guy I see? Do you want to sleep with 
every single woman
you see? No, I think not, same concept, let's move on."
     Zev glanced at Faith. "He's fast approaching you as my favorite."
     Matthew tried to go on. "Listen, I just want to say----" He stopped as 
he caught the icy
cold look in Steve's eyes. The Wanderer calmly strode forward and glared at 
the other man.
"Listen and listen closely," he bit out in a cold voice. "Larry is on this 
team. He's more than proven
his worth to us. I don't give a damn about his sexual preference because 
it doesn't play one bit
into how well he fights and what he believes in. I can't stop you from 
feeling the way you do but
while you are here, you will not make any disparaging remarks about him, no 
slurs, no insults, no
snide jokes and you will not shoot him down because of your own prejudices. 
There's no room in
this place for bigots so treat him with respect or I will turn you over to 
three people who will
concoct a long and very painful punishment for you."
     Matt just stood there, trying to keep his calm in the face of the 
verbal assault. Alice looked
to Buffy and grinned. "Can I switch teachers?"
     "Sorry," the Slayer laughed. "I saw him first."
     "Come on!" Alice half-begged. "You don't know what it's like to hang 
with him! We've
been thrown out of a half-dozen ball games because he insists on singing all 
five stanzas of 'The
Star-Spangled Banner!'"
     Steve frowned. "There's only four stanzas."
     "He wrote another one!"
     Jesse suddenly started and looked at Zev. "Ah...wait. Did you use the 
term 'Earthling?'"
     Zev nodded. "I did."
     Kyra looked uncertain. "Um...if we're Earthlings...what are you?"
     "Reudian. Lovely planet a few dozen light-years away."
     Even Megan was taken aback by that revelation. "An..alien?" she 
stammered. "You're a bloody
alien?"
     "Ye got it, Meggie," Liam said.
     "Meggie?" Matt, Alice, Kyra and Jesse said.
     "LIAM!"
     Shaw smiled at Amy. "I told you I was not the only one who could scream 
out his name
like that."
     "Great Jurden, change the subject," Zev pleaded.
     Perry was staring at him in wonder. "You're a real alien?"
     "Actually, from where I stand, you're the aliens," Zev pointed out.
     "It's our planet," Matthew was quick to state.
     "Old Reudian saying: A race may inhabit a planet. No race can own it."
     "I don't believe this," Valerie muttered.
     Zev sighed and put a hand on her shoulder. "My dear lady," he said in a 
sympathetic tone.
"You haven't even plumbed the depths of unbelievable here."
 
     Twenty minutes later, the Hastings Bay group stared in stupefied 
wonder at the group,
taking in all they had heard. Kyra slowly leaned in toward Jesse. "Am I high 
or are they?"
     Valerie shook her head in utter disbelief. "Demon cults, invading 
Libya, ninjas from other
dimensions, time traveling, body switches, what's next, you going to another 
reality and meeting
your doubles?"
     At the bemused looks on their faces, she threw up her hands. "For God's 
sake, I was
joking!"
     "All right, here's the teams," Steve announced. "Zev, you and Megan can 
take the west
side."
     Zev stared at Megan, then at Steve. "You're sending me out with an 
Irish vampire ex-Mrs.
Danahure?" the alien asked in disbelief. He bent his head forward. "Steven, 
there's a small nerve
cluster in between my fourteenth and sixteenth vertebrae. Just give it a 
quick twist, it's faster and
far less painful."
     "You're not sending him with Shaw?" Amy asked.
     "Well, I don't want them feeling inferior," Steve said.
     "Then why are you sending her with me?" Zev asked.
     Robin chuckled. "Zev and Megan. Battle of the egos. I'd pay good money 
for that."
     Ignoring him, Steve nodded to Xander and Cordelia. "You two can take 
Alice."
     "Steven, please, must we make the poor girl suffer?"
     "Willow and Oz, you can take Kyra. Shaw and Amy can bring Jesse along. 
Giles and Jenny,
you get Valerie and Perry. And..." He paused and smiled. "Matt can come 
along with me, Buffy
and Larry."
     Matthew glanced at Larry, who beamed and rolled his eyes. "Oh, I hate 
you people."
     There was a noise as the front door opened and a moment later, Joyce 
and Dawn entered
the room. "Oh!" Joyce said, stopping as she looked at the large crowd. "Ah, 
sorry, I didn't know
we had so much company."
     "These are the guys from Massachusetts I was telling you about," Buffy 
told her. "Guys
this is my mom, Joyce and my sister, Dawn."
     Kyra looked at Dawn. "Okay...and what are you? Amazon? Angelic warrior? 
Mermaid?"
     Dawn snorted. "Nope. I'm the one normal person around here."
     With great effort, Robin and Liam managed to avoid throwing each other 
a look.
     Matthew looked at Joyce. "So you're just a regular mom?"
     "Well, I wouldn't just call myself 'regular,'" Joyce remarked.
     Matthew smirked as he looked at Larry. "So you help her out with the 
cooking and
cleaning? Maybe wear an apron while you do?"
     "Matthew, in the seventy-five years we've known each other, I've never 
seen you acting
like such a horse's ass," Megan snapped with more than a dash of ire.
     Joyce frowned at Buffy who sighed in response. "He has..issues with 
Larry being gay."
     "Oh," Joyce said. She turned to Matthew. "Um, Mr...Connors, was it? I 
think you should
try to give Larry more of a break. He doesn't need to be judged by how he 
feels about other men.
It would be better if you just cut him some slack."
     "And what if I don't?" Matthew said. "Are *you* going to make me?"
     "Oh, no, he DIDN'T!" Dawn yelled.
     Zev glanced at Buffy. "May I?"
     The Slayer spread out her hands. "Be my guest."
     Zev nodded, walked forward and smacked Matthew across the head. The 
Immortal yelled in
pain as he rubbed his head. "Watch it, pal! I've seen more combat than you 
in the worse spots
imaginable!"
     "I've worked for the CIA," Steve mentioned.
     "Ah, so you haven't done any real fighting."
     Steve raised an eyebrow. "I take it you don't like the CIA."
     Matthew snorted. "I'm a soldier, not a spook, St. Wolf. I belong on a 
battlefield, not a
desk."
     "Actually, Matt, you're a teacher so you are usually behind a desk," 
Alice pointed out.
     Ignoring her, Matt stared at Steve. "So just what experience do you 
have?"
     "Joined the Army in '75 at the age of sixteen, spent two years with the 
82nd Airborne
before being transferred to the 5th SFG at Bragg, six years and 131 missions 
before I died. Three
Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, Medal of Honor and Victoria's Cross."
     Buffy wore a proud smile as Matt just stared in amazement at Steve. 
"Wow," he finally
got out. "Not bad for a kid."
     Steve smirked. "Plus, I got involved in one mission for the CIA in '91 
you might approve
of. The raid on the slaver auction in 1991."
     "Whoever named you was a number off," Matt remarked. "Because you 
people are
certifiably Section Eight."
     "I take it you're having difficulty accepting this," Zev said.
     "That's right," Jesse replied.
     "Of course it's right. I said it. Therefore, it's right."
     Matt looked at Steve. "You let him stay here?"
     "Yes."
     "You're crazy."
     "Old Reudian saying," Zev piped in. "Who's crazier? The crazy man or 
those crazy
enough to follow him?"
     Valerie rubbed her head. "You people need industrial strength therapy."
     "We have a shrink on the payroll," Willow said.
     Valerie rolled her eyes. "Oh, lord help him. He'd need the patience of 
a saint to put up
with you people."
     "Yeah, Joanie has trouble with that," Randi stated.
     Alice frowned. "Who's Joanie?"
     "Joan of Arc," Randi matter-of-factly replied.
     There were more baffled stares and Valerie closed her eyes in pain. "I 
can't accept this."
     "Well, better get to accepting it," Buffy announced. "You go out there 
thinking it'll be
easy and that'll get you killed."
     "You will be going into areas fraught with danger," Shaw announced.
     "Miss," Perry said. "We just got off a flight from Massachusetts. It's 
a bit late to use
words like 'fraught.'"
          "Everyone be careful," Steve said. "We don't need any mistakes."
     "I don't make mistakes." Megan paused to think about that. "Wait a 
minute, there was
one time...Oh, wait, that wasn't my fault, so, no, never, my mistake."
     Shaw had a small smile on her face. "I do know of one mistake you made, 
Megan."
     The vampire frowned. "What?"
     Shaw leaned toward Liam. "You let Liam get away from you. Very big 
mistake." She and
Liam shared a kiss as Megan stammered.
     Steve nodded as he walked to the hallway. "Come on. Let's get them 
loaded up."
 
     "Good God," Matthew breathed as he saw the armory. "When I fought for 
the right to
bear arms, I didn't expect people to take it to this level."
     Perry was staring at a rack of high-powered assault rifles. "I'm 
positive some of this stuff
is outlawed by the Geneva Convention."
     "I'm positive some of this stuff isn't known to the Geneva Convention," 
Jesse added.
     Perry crossed his arms, a nervous expression on his face. "I don't like 
guns very much," he
explained to Steve's confused look. "You see as many dead bodies riddled 
with bullets as I have
and you'll understand."
     Xander peaked up. "That how you found out about Immortals?"
     Perry nodded. "Yeah, two came to life in front of me. You haven't lived 
until you've seen
a return from the dead."
     "There's philosophy I've never heard before," Kyra remarked. "Least not 
til I first died."
She paused as she saw a row of quivers, bows, arrows and stakes. "Ah, isn't 
this a little low-
tech?"
     "Oh, no, wait," Valerie sarcastically said. "We forgot. Bullets won't 
work on vampires."
     "Actually, they can if we have them blessed and filled with holy water 
and garlic," Buffy
explained. "We also have lots of magic tricks as well."
     "Oh, yeah," Valerie dryly stated. "Magic. Of course."
     Perry looked at her. "Valerie...are you forgetting we were----"
     "Mass hallucination," Valerie snapped. "We may have been drugged, you 
know?"
     Buffy rolled her eyes. "Oh, great, we've got a live one here."
     Steve cocked his pistol before putting it in his holster. "Let's make 
sure she won't become
a dead one."

 

 

 

Chronicles of Wanderer
Hunter's Moon
by Michael Weyer
based on an idea by Tim Knight.
 
 
     Chapter three: In which regular patrols lead to irregular meetings.
 
 
St. Marcus Cemetary
2201 Hours PST
 
 
     A cloud of smoke hung in the air over the two figures. The dark smoke 
of Megan's cigar
mingled with the slightly green tint of Zev's pipe. The alien and the 
vampire calmly strode along
the pathways with their separate humidors.
     "So," Megan began. "Gonna ask about Liam and me?"
     "No," Zev said simply.
     "Not curious at all?"
     "That would require my caring enough about it to be curious."
     Megan chuckled as she took out her cigar. "So...tell me about Shaw. 
What kind of person
is she?"
     Zev glanced at her as he puffed on his pipe. "You want information on 
the woman your
ex-husband is dating?"
     Megan shrugged. "Just want to make sure she's good enough."
     "Oh, she is. Believe me, she'll be the first to tell you that."
     Megan sighed and smiled as she thought back. "Ah, it was a good time 
with Liam, I have
to admit. He was always charming, good-humored. Oh and the sex..." She 
shivered. "He was able
to match me, which very few can. After all, as a vampire, I'm capable of 
things other women
aren't. Ye want me to go on?"
     "I beg you to stop," Zev insisted. "I get quite enough of that from 
Harris and Chase."
     "Picked up on an odd vibe between you three," Megan noted. "You've got 
some sort of
love/hate thing going?"
     "No, just hate," Zev answered. He paused and bent his head to one 
side. Megan saw
the look on his face and stopped as well. Her own ears twitched as she 
picked up a sound nearby.
"Three of them," she said.
     "Four," Zev corrected. He turned toward the nearby bushes as they 
parted and a quartet
of vampires approached them. One was sniffing at the two. "Well, you two 
definitely aren't
human."
     "Thanks for the compliment," Zev remarked as he removed his pipe and 
calmly emptied it.
     The lead vampire crossed his arms and raised an eyebrow. "Maybe you can 
help us out?
We were planning to check out this sleep over a few houses down." He grinned 
and licked his
lips.
"Pre-teens always taste great, you know?"
     Megan took a drag on her cigar as she glanced at Zev. "It's the ones 
like these that give
vampires a bad name," she coolly remarked. "You armed?"
     "Thank Jurden Harris isn't here for an easy line like that," Zev 
muttered as he glared at the
lead vampire. The creature was starting to realize these two weren't in a 
mood to become allies as
Megan calmly took another drag on her cigar. With a flash of movement, she 
flicked it right into
the face of one vampire, the hot end striking it in the eyes. As he howled 
in pain, Zev popped out
his spikes and attacked. Megan also moved in, her eyes glowing and 
fangs out as she
blasted a vampire with a pair of punches. He fell back against a tree as 
Megan leapt up, grabbing a
branch and snapping it off. She landed, brandishing the makeshift stake as 
the vampire stared at
her face. "You...you're one of us!"
     "No, laddie," Megan said. "I'm not. My kind? We've got style." With 
that, she plunged the
branch into the man's heart as Zev's spikes slashed through another's neck.
 
 
Sunnydale Park
2208 Hours PST
 
     "I can't believe I'm doing this," Valerie muttered as she kicked a 
loose pebble on the ground.
Her hands were pushed into her pockets, her head bent down low. She was 
walking beside Perry,
Giles and Jenny, the quartet marching along the pathways of the park. Giles 
and Jenny glanced about, on the alert for any possible dangers. Perry was a bit
more 
nonchalant as he
smiled at his fellow Watcher. "Come on, Val. The town doesn't look that 
bad."
     "It's not the town, it's the company," Valerie snapped. She stepped 
back a bit and leaned
in toward Perry. "Perry, these two act like they'll be able to blast magic 
at attacking vampires!"
     "Servants of Twilight."
     Valerie blinked in confusion. "What?"
     "Servants of Twilight," Perry went on. "Dean Koontz, 1982. A woman and 
her son are
chased by a cult convinced the kid is the Antichrist. Course, as the book 
goes along, you start to
wonder if just maybe they're right."
     Valerie shook her head. "Perry, you can't try to tell me you believe 
these lunatics. Reality
check: Magic isn't real."
     Perry shrugged. "Valerie, six months ago, the idea of Immortals and 
vampires would have
been crazy. If there's one thing I've been learning, Val, it's that life is 
an expert at throwing you
curve balls." His eyes were caught by a movement and he focused on two 
figures coming up a
walk before them. "And here's a damn good example."
     He picked up his pace, his face breaking into a wide smile at the two 
people. "Beth!
Johnny!"
     The two people stopped and looked at him in surprise. The man looked a 
bit like Perry, if
a bit beefier with lighter hair, in jeans and leather jacket. The woman was 
rather attractive, with
short curly blond hair framing a pert face, in a dark black dress. "Perry!" 
she called out. "Fancy
meeting you here."
     Perry smiled as he looked to the others. "Oh, yeah, Val, this is Johnny 
Masters, my best
friend and Beth Masters, my ex-wife."
     Valerie was a bit taken aback before smiling at the woman. "Oh. Hi, 
yes, Perry has spoken
of you a lot."
     Perry laughed as he looked at Beth. "Wow, you look great! It's been a 
while."
     "Yeah, well, we've been...busy," the woman said with a smile on her 
face. Behind Perry
and Val, Giles and Jenny suddenly tensed, both of them sensing something 
wrong with this
picture.
     Perry didn't notice, instead turning to Johnny. "So, buddy, how are the 
kids? What brings
you into town."
     "Oh, just hunting for fun," Johnny said with a wide smile. His eyes 
glinted with an evil
light. "And what do you know? We just found some." His face changed, 
shifting into the warped
features of a vampire. Beth's face changed as well as the two moved toward 
the stunned Perry
and Valerie.
     A blast of light swept forward and knocked the two vampires down along 
with Perry and
Valerie. Jenny stood there, her arms outstretched as Giles pulled out a 
short sword and moved in.
He had only gotten a few steps when a trio of vampires stepped out to back 
up Johnny and Beth.
One lunged at Giles, who deftly sidestepped and swung out his sword. It 
neatly bisected the
vampire's neck, turning him to dust.
     Jenny was moving in, leaping up to launch a flying kick at the two 
other vampires,
knocking them both down. She ducked one's punch and nailed him with two of 
her own, reaching
into her coat to pull out a stake. She turned, booting one in the sternum 
and then drove the stake
into his heart.
     Beth had gotten back to her feet and, snarling, charged at Jenny. Giles 
muttered under his
breath and threw out a hand. A blast of air knocked Beth down into Johnny, 
the two tumbling on
the ground. Jenny was backhanding the remaining vampire to the ground. He 
tried to get up but
she cast a spell that ignited his clothing. The vampire howled, rolling 
on the ground in a futile
attempt to put out the flames. His howls were finally cut off as his body 
combusted and left a dark
stain on the grass.
     Beth and Johnny had gotten back to their feet, both realizing they were 
way out of their
league. With a shared look, they took off at high speed, vanishing into the 
darkness. Giles and
Jenny watched them go, then turned their attention to Valerie and Perry.
     The two were sitting next to each other, both with stunned expressions 
on their faces.
Perry's was more horrified, unable to accept what he had just witnessed. 
"They...they just...they
just...she was a...a..."
     Valerie stared blankly forward. "It's real," she whispered. "Oh, my 
God, it's all real. It's
all true. All of it."
     Giles and Jenny looked at each other with grim expressions. "I think 
her reality check just
bounced," Jenny remarked.
 
 
North Campus of Sunnydale University.
2214 Hours PST
 
 
     "Not bad," Alice remarked as she looked about the campus. "Pretty nice 
school for such a
small town."
     "Yeah, it's not too bad," Xander agreed. "Course, not as many 
skyscrapers as Angel Grove."
     "Oh and pink for the new term?" Cordelia threw in. "Forget about it, 
honey."
     Alice closed her eyes. For the last half hour, she'd had to put up with 
one crack after another
about Power Rangers. Even for someone who had put up with such jokes for the 
last few
years, Alice was hitting her last nerve. *If only they were Immortal, then I 
could kill them.*
     Cordelia pointed toward one building. "So, engineering is over there 
along with science
labs."
     "Both of which I guess you're familiar with," Xander interjected.
     Alice glared at the duo. "Well, if anyone should know about pink, it's 
you," she told Cordelia.
"I bet your gal pals at the local biker bar would agree."
     Cordelia shot her an ugly look. "Hey, no need to take your teacher's 
homophobia on."
     Alice pointed a finger at her. "Don't knock Matt, ok? He's a good guy, 
he's helped me a
whole lot. I wouldn't be where I am if not for him."
     "But has he ever given you a fancy coin for a gift?" Xander asked.
     *That's it* Alice thought, her hand going for her sword. Before she 
could pull it out, she
felt the Buzz. Her head whipped around, trying to find the source.
     Cordelia and Xander both recognized the look and also looked about. 
They all saw a figure
coming forward. She was a tall woman with Asian features dressed in a tight 
leather outfit with
long coat. Her black hair was pulled back in a severe bun, her green focused 
on Alice as she came
to a stop a few feet away from her. She lifted her head and spoke in a 
surprisingly deep voice. "I
am Shen Mai Lao of the Mako Court."
     Alice licked her dry lips. "Alice Fairchild." She paused and looked 
Shen in the eye. "We don't
have to do this."
     The woman let a thin smile come to her face. "I've been doing it for 
600 years. I am in no
mood to stop now." She reached under her coat and pulled out a long and 
sharp blade.
     Alice winced as she looked at Xander and Cordelia. "So the day I find 
out the Game is a fraud
I get into my first duel. Irony really stinks."
     "Tell us about it," the two said.
 
 
Southern Campus of the University of Sunnydale
2214 Hours PST
 
     "I thought the point of this was to split up?" Willow stated. She, Oz, 
Kyra, Shaw, Amy
and Jesse were walking through the other side of campus, checking their 
surroundings. The two
groups had run into one another a few minutes earlier after quiet patrols 
for them all.
     "We're still giving them a tour of the town," Amy pointed out. "Maybe 
in bigger numbers
will be better."
     Jesse glanced at Kyra. "So, how's your pair been?"
     "Not too bad," Kyra said. She nodded at Oz. "Nice to talk to someone 
about the latest
rock styles."
     Amy glanced at Willow. "Oz talked?"
     Willow shrugged. "Yeah, he was actually babbling about guitar 
comparisons."
     Kyra frowned. "He said maybe twelve sentences."
     "That's babbling for Oz."
     Kyra sighed as she looked at Amy. "So...you're really a witch, huh?" 
She smiled. "I've
actually been reading up on that for a while. Maybe you can teach me 
something?"
     Amy smiled. "It's not like teaching bike lessons, Kyra. You have to 
have the potential
inside you in order to make magic work."
     "And I don't?"
     Willow frowned. "Hmm....she's got a point there, Amy. I didn't know I 
had any only a
year ago."
     "Perhaps we should do a check," Shaw stated.
     "On the to-do list," Amy affirmed with a nod.
     Jesse chuckled. "A witch rocker. I've gotta see that next time you play 
at a club."
     "So how about you, Jesse?" Willow said, looking at the man. "You got 
any interests?"
     "Surfing," Jesse immediately answered. "Which, as you can imagine, 
isn't that big in
Massachusetts." He smacked his head. "Damn, I forgot my board. I wanted to 
try the West Coast
waves. Surfing always makes me feel alive."
     "Which is ironic considering it's how you first died," Kyra pointed 
out.
     Jesse just waved. "Ah, it was worth it. That wave..." He closed his 
eyes and his face took
on a look of fond remembrance. "The curl...the breaker...the way it rolled, 
just perfect...The
spray in my face, the challenge of keeping the board steady as I went..." He 
let out a deep sigh.
"After that...sex is probably a letdown."
     He opened his eyes to see everyone blankly staring at him except for 
Kyra. She sighed and
brushed at her hair. "I'm really not looking forward to him in winter."
     Shaw's ears seemed to perk a bit and she whipped her head around, her 
eyes sweeping
their surroundings. "It would appear," she softly began. "That the night is 
about to take a turn."
She hefted her blade. Instantly, Willow, Oz and Amy were on guard as well 
with Kyra and Jesse
exchanging puzzled glances.
     They looked up to see eight people walking forward, all college age, 
all dressed in loose
clothing. They paused at seeing the teenagers and a few smiled. "Hey there," 
their leader said in a
polite tone. "We're checking out this big party, you want to come with?"
     Shaw narrowed her eyes at them. "That depends. Does this party involve 
a slaughter of some
sort?"
     The man chuckled. "You know...it does." He smiled wider as his face 
changed. The rest of
the group also shifted into game faces.
     "Oh my God," Kyra breathed, her eyes wide in shock. Jesse's mouth was 
also open, as
frozen as she was. His eyes bulged further as Oz suddenly shifted into wolf 
form. The Sunnydale
residents were prepared to move when the vampire leader snapped his fingers. 
Two of his party
stepped up and suddenly revealed they were holding bows with arrows already 
notched. They let
them fly, one streaking toward Shaw, the other toward Oz. The werewolf moved 
but the arrow
struck him in the upper shoulder, causing him to emit a loud howl. Shaw 
swiftly dodged the arrow
aimed at her as Amy threw up a shield to stop it.
     Willow's eyes darkened as she saw the wounded Oz. With a snarl, she 
held up a hand and
threw a blast of magic at the vampire that had shot him. The creature howled 
in pain as he felt his
skin blister and blacken. He fell back, the bow flying away as he rolled on 
the ground. The
Scoobies swiftly moved to the attack. "Head and heart," Shaw informed Kyra 
and Jesse.
     She twirled her sword in her hands as she struck out at a vampire. The 
blade slashed
across his chest, causing the creature to howl in pain. He staggered back as 
Amy threw a force
bolt from her hand, sending another vampire flying back.
     Jesse swallowed as he pulled out his short sword and moved into a 
fighting stance.
Matthew had done well teaching both him and Kyra how to fight over the last 
few months but
that was against humans, not demons. *Can't be that bad. Just ignore the 
face, go for the weak
spots.* He launched a kick at the demon's sternum but with inhuman speed, 
the vamp dodged it
and punched him in the face. Jesse gasped as he went down hard. *Okay...not 
so easy.*
     Kyra did a little better as she managed a kick that stunned one 
vampire. She twirled
her sharp English blade as she jammed the tip into the vampire's chest. The 
vampire staggered,
then took on a sick grin, shaking his head. "Wood, not metal, baby." With 
that, he backhanded
Kyra savagely, sending her to the ground.
     Willow spin-kicked a vampire in the face and jammed a stake into his 
heart. She heard a
howl and turned to see Oz tearing the throat of one vampire and then 
launching himself at
another. "Oh, Goddess," Willow whispered. She knew that her lover was in 
pain from the arrow
and the pain was overwhelming his reason. She flexed her hands, ready to 
cast a sleep spell if need
be.
     Kyra gasped as she felt a sharp kick in her ribs, hearing one crack. 
She rolled on the
ground, trying to get her breath back as the vampire moved in. The creature 
yelled out as Jesse
smashed the hilt of his sword in his head. He staggered forward, turning 
just in time to see Jesse's
blade coming at him. The swift stroke sliced through his neck and both Kyra 
and Jesse stared in
amazement as the vampire turned to dust. "Wow," Jesse whispered. "Megan 
never said they do
that."
     Kyra looked up to see the rest of the group still handling the 
vampires. Her eyes fell on the
bow and arrows one dead vampire had dropped. Before she knew it, she 
grabbed them,
hefted the bow in her hands and knocked an arrow into it. She aimed it at 
a vampire who was
moving toward Shaw from behind. "Head and heart," Kyra whispered as she let 
the arrow fly.
     The vampire was about to reach Shaw when she felt a pain in her chest. 
She had just
enough time to look down at the arrow piercing her heart before she 
disintegrated. Kyra was
already aiming another arrow at another vampire. He moved just as she let go 
so the arrow buried
itself into his neck. He fell back, gasping and clawing at his throat, 
giving Amy the chance to bury
a stake in his heart.
     Oz had just finished tearing a vampire's head off when Willow reached 
him. "Oz!" she
hissed as she grabbed him around the neck. "Ease down! Breathe! Ok? Let me 
help you!"
     The werewolf tensed and Willow was afraid he was going to fight. Then, 
his body relaxed
and sank down. Fur slowly receded as Oz came back to human form, the arrow 
point still buried
in his shoulder. He looked at it and sniffed. "Ow."
     Willow held him tight before moving her hands to begin a healing spell.
     The remaining vampire had figured it was time to get running and was 
backpedaling furiously
away. Kyra raised her bow but Jesse stopped her. "This one's mine," he said 
as he took the arrow
off the bow. He held it up carefully, peering at the vampire, his hand 
extended above and behind
him. He threw it out, his wrist snapping forward and the arrow flipped 
through the air. It buried
itself into the vampire's heart just as he was turning. He died with arms 
extended outward and a
surprised look on his face.
     Kyra nodded at Jesse. "Not bad."
     He just shrugged. "Old soldier guy back on the islands taught me. It's 
great if I want to make
some money with darts."
     Amy wiped at her brow as she looked at the bow in Kyra's hands. "Wow. 
That was pretty
damn good. How'd you...?"
     It was Kyra's turn to shrug. "Had to learn something at summer camp and 
needed one athletic
course."
     "Funny," Amy remarked. "I would have thought Alice would be the 
archer."
     Kyra rolled her eyes. "Amy...do us a favor and knock off the Power 
Ranger comments. Trust
me, we'll all be grateful." She looked over at Willow and her eyes widened 
as she saw Shaw
joining them. The Harper held a hand over Oz's shoulder, a glow 
emitting as the wound
slowly knit itself. "Holy shit." She glanced at Jesse. "I gotta learn how to 
do that."
     Jesse frowned. "Um, Kyra, we can do that on our own."
     "I meant the magic," she answered.
     They all started as a ringing sound went out. Amy quickly pulled out 
her cell phone and
opened it. "Hello?" Her eyes widened. "Oh, shit. Okay, we're there." She 
hung it up and looked
at Kyra and Jesse. "It's Alice."
 
 
     Alice felt a whisp of air as she managed to duck the tight swing. She 
backed up, her sword
held in a defensive stance. Mao had a sneer on her face as she moved in 
swiftly, her blade
whipping in arcs in the air. The two had been dueling for several minutes 
now and Alice could tell
Mao was damn good. She had strength and speed with a special agility that 
 
rivaled Alice's own
gymnastics. Plus, she had more experience, which was making all the 
difference.
     "Keep moving!" Cordelia yelled. She and Xander stood by, watching the 
duel, both knowing
they couldn't interfere. "Come on, use the Ranger speed."
     Alice rolled back to avoid a swing and came up to her feet to glare at 
Cordelia. "Listen...you
stop the Power Rangers jokes and I'll stop the Amazon cracks. Deal?"
     "Deal."
     With a nod, Alice went back to the fight. She spun around as Mao came 
at her again and then
made a lunge with her blade. She was rewarded with a grunt as her blade 
slashed a piece of Mao's
arm, tearing flesh and cloth. The Asian hissed, her eyes flaring with anger 
as she stepped back and
whipped off her coat, then swung her blade in wide arcs.
     *Oh, great. Now she's pissed.*
     Both of them paused as they felt a Buzz. Alice peered out of the corner 
of her eye to see Kyra
and Jesse leading the charge toward the area. "Guys...this is my fight." She 
turned her attention
back to Mao, shrugging off her coat for better movement.
     Mao leaped at her but Alice swung her coat out to hit her in the face. 
Mao stumbled back as
Alice lashed a kick to her gut and followed it up by driving her elbow into 
the Asian's face.
     "Not exactly fair," Oz noted.
     "One thing Matt drilled in is the mantra of the US Armed Forces," Jesse 
said. "Never be afraid
to cheat if necessary."
     Mao pulled away the coat and soon found herself on the defensive as 
Alice moved in,
utilizing a series of feints and parries that kept the older Immortal on the 
edge. Alice seemed to
have found her second wind, dodging and ducking Mao's swings and answering 
with her own.
She saw an opening and by instinct struck out.
     Mao yelled in pain as the tip of Alice's sword pierced her wrist. Her 
blade automatically
fell from her limp hand as she backed away. Alice moved in and put her blade 
right at Mao's neck.
The Asian woman froze, her eyes narrowed at the younger woman.
     They stood there for a moment, glaring at one another as everyone held 
their breaths for
what came next. Slowly, Alice backed away and pulled her sword back. Mao 
blinked, her face
taking on a flabbergasted look. "I..I don't understand..."
     Alice lowered her sword. "I don't want to do this. I don't need to do 
this." She gave a
brisk nod with her head. "Just get out of here." She turned on her heel and 
marched away.
     Mao stared at her, then bowed her head. She took a deep breath, then 
moved forward,
picking up her sword and charging at Alice.
     "ALICE!" Kyra and Jesse both yelled out.
     Instinct took over. Alice ran to a bench before her, placing one foot 
on it and using it as
leverage. She bent and then pushed up to launch herself in the air. She 
flipped backwards, using
the skills she'd built in over years of practice to somersault over the 
charging Mao. Alice landed
on her feet and rose up as Mao, off guard by the unexpected move, tried to 
stop and turn. Before
she could even register what she was doing, Alice was swinging her blade in 
a long arc that sliced
Mao's neck from one end to the other.
     The corpse stood there for a moment before collapsing onto the ground. 
Mao's head
bounced along, her face frozen in amazement. Alice let out a breath as she 
stared at the body,
realizing for the first time what she had done. As the cloud of light exited 
Mao's body, Alice took
a deep breath. *Oh, God. Here we go.*
     The teenagers watched as the cloud entered Alice. She gasped and 
stiffened as bolts of
electricity began to strike her. The air was charged as a wind came from 
nowhere to blast the
area. Alice staggered as the bolts hit her, her hair whipping around her 
face and memories of
Mao's life filling her mind. She threw her head back and screamed as the 
Quickening took hold,
racking her with pleasure and pain in equal doses. She arched back as it 
took her, trying to keep
her sanity amidst the massive influx of power.
     As quickly as it had started, the Quickening died. Alice slowly 
collapsed to her knees,
heaving for breath. Kyra and Jesse were soon there helping her up to her 
feet. "Oh, man..." Alice
breathed. "Oh, man...that was...whoa..."
     "Damn," Kyra remarked. "Are you..okay?"
     Alice nodded. "I guess...I just feel...wow...I feel so...powered up..." 
She managed to point
a finger at Cordelia and Xander. "Not a word."
 
 
Steve St Wolf's home
2305 Hours PST
 
 
     The mood in the living room was obviously tense as Steve, Buffy, Larry 
and Matthew
came in. The soldier looked at where Jenny, Giles, Amy and Shaw were 
gathered. "Where are
they?"
     "Alice is upstairs with Kyra and Jesse," Jenny answered. "And Perry and 
Valerie are in the
basement."
     "How are they?"
     "Well, Perry saw the woman he was once married to as a vampire trying 
to kill him and
Alice cut someone's head off." Jenny sipped from her drink. "How do you 
think they're doing?"
     Buffy looked around. "Where are Willow and Oz?"
     "Resting up after a healing spell," Shaw answered. "Oz was injured in 
the battle."
     Matthew paced with anxiety. "How did they do?"
     "Actually, Kyra kicked ass with a bow and arrow," Amy remarked. "They 
seemed to
handle themselves well."
     Matthew smiled. "I knew they would." He glanced about. "Anyone got a 
drink?"
     Steve stared at him. "You aren't going to see Alice?"
     Matt shook his head. "I'll give her a bit of time first. She still 
needs to process it all. First
time is always the hardest." Buffy and Steve nodded in agreement. "Besides, 
I'm sure the others
are giving her all their support."
 
     "Oh, well, a touch of gray, kinda suits you anyway, every silver 
lining's got a...touch of
gray..." Kyra sang softly as she strummed her guitar. She was sitting on the 
other bed in the small
bedroom, Jesse on a chair beside her. Both of them faced the bed where Alice 
was laying, staring
up at the ceiling.
     "I will...get by..." Kyra sang. "I will...get by...I will...get by, by, 
by, I will survive..."
     "Kyra," Alice suddenly said. "I know you're trying to help but don't 
make me smash that guitar
over your head."
     Kyra frowned as she stopped playing. "No need to be nasty."
     "Sorry," Alice sighed as she rubbed her face. "It's just...I'm still 
trying to process it."
     Jesse bit his lip before speaking. "What's it like? Really?"
     Alice was silent as she tried to find the right way to say it. 
"It's...God, it's so hard to describe.
You feel power, you get flashes, images...I actually know a few phrases in 
Chinese now and I'm
pretty sure I can make a fan if I had to. But still..." She closed her eyes. 
"I killed her. I mean, I
actually...killed someone."
     "You knew you were probably going to have to," Jesse said. "It was her 
or you, you know
that."
     "I know," Alice agreed. "But...it still doesn't make it right." She was 
silent as Kyra and Jesse
exchanged looks, uncertain of what to say.
 
     The three started at a knocking on the door. It opened and Joyce stuck 
her head into the room.
"Hi, I hope I'm not interrupting." She opened the door to reveal a tray with 
three steaming cups
on it. "I thought some coco might help."
     "Um, thanks," Kyra said as she took a cup. Jesse did as well but Alice 
just shook her head.
"Sorry, Mrs. Summers, I'm not in the mood."
     "Call me Joyce," she said. "Makes me feel a little younger." She looked 
at Alice with
sympathy. "I know it's rough. I saw Buffy after she had to do it. I've seen 
it myself, so I know
how crazy it is."
     Alice just lay, looking up at the ceiling. "I killed someone, Mrs. 
Summers. I don't think
you can know how that feels."
     Joyce sighed. "It was self-defense. You know that. I once...wanted to 
kill someone in cold
blood. She hurt Buffy and Dawn and the others and I was just overwhelmed 
with hate and
anger...I was so close to doing it, to finishing her off..." She sighed and 
shook her head. "It wasn't
something I want to repeat."
     She focused on Alice. "But you're not like that, Alice. I know it may 
sound trite but
killing doesn't automatically make you a killer. You've been trained by a 
soldier, someone who
knows that. Maybe you should remember what he's taught." She gave Alice a 
small smile.
"Despite some of his ideas, he does seem to care for you. I'm sure he can 
help you out."
     She turned to walk away when Alice spoke up. "Joyce?" As Joyce turned, 
she saw Alice
looking at her gratefully. "I really wish I'd had a mom like you."
     Joyce smiled. "I get that a lot."
 
 
     "So where are Perry and Val?" Matthew asked.
     "Kitchen," Jenny answered. "Nursing a handy bottle of scotch."
     Matt sighed. "I guess I'd better-----" He stopped as he looked toward 
the doorway where
Zev and Megan were entering. They were both smoking, their faces smudged 
with dirt and dried
blood, clothes torn and satisfied looks on their faces. "What in hell 
happened to you two?"
     "Oh, just having a spot of fun," Megan said with a smile.
     Buffy looked at her, then at Zev, then grimaced. "Oh, God. Please, 
don't tell me-----"
     Zev's eyes widened. "Great Jurden, no!" he yelled. "We were just 
fighting a group of vampires
 
and a passing demon decided to join in."
     Megan blinked at the Slayer. "Hold a mo. You thought me and...." She 
laughed out loud. "Oh,
no, no, no. No offense but..." She winked at Zev. "Ye couldn't handle the 
ride."
     Zev grimaced. "I can barely handle the thought." He glanced behind him 
as he felt Willow
coming up with a somber expression on her face. "What's wrong?"
     Willow sighed. "I did some checking on Perry's ex-wife."
     "Why?" Megan asked.
     "She and her current husband showed up," Jenny explained.
     "Oh? Good for Perry."
     "They were vampires," Giles stated.
     "Oh. Bad for Perry."
     "It gets worse," Willow spoke up. "I found their records and..." She 
bit her lip. "I think I need
to talk to them." She headed toward the kitchen as everyone looked at her.
     "Damn," Xander said. "This is going to be hard for Perry. I know."
     "Do you?" Zev asked.
     Xander glared at him. "Yeah, I do. I had to kill my best friend."
     "Yes," Zev stated. "You had to stake him when he was a vampire. And 
from what I've
gathered, your vampire doppelganger killed that version of him. Which means 
that in two realities,
you have to live with the guilt of killing your childhood friend. Whatever 
else I think of you,
Harris, not even you deserve pain like that."
     Xander blinked in amazement. "Why, Zev...that's the nicest thing you've 
ever said to me."
     The alien scoffed. "Don't expect me to make a habit of it."
 
     There was silence in the room as Perry sat, staring at the table. 
Valerie sat across from
him, just as somber. Nearby at the counter, Robin and Liam, having just 
arrived, were sipping
from cans of beer. "So...how ye doing?" Liam asked.
     Perry slowly turned his head toward him with a disbelieving expression 
on his face. "How
do you think I'm doing? My ex-wife just tried to kill me!"
     "Don't they all at one time or another?" Liam muttered.
     "I heard that," Megan said as she entered behind Willow. She gave Perry 
 
a small smile. "Hang
in there, lad. You're gonna need it."
     "Why?" Perry asked, certain he wasn't going to like the answer.
     Willow's deep sigh confirmed it. "I...did some checking," the computer 
expert began. "I
came across a police report from about eight months back. Your ex-wife and 
her husband
mysteriously vanished...just before someone discovered their children were 
dead."
     Perry blinked, his face going pale. "Dead?" he whispered.
     Willow nodded. "Massive blood loss for two of them, broken neck for the 
other.
It...wasn't very pretty."
     "Oh, God," Perry moaned, placing his face in his hands. "How...how 
could this have
happened? Why? How could they have done that?"
     "They didn't," Megan said. "It wasn't truly them."
     Valerie stared at her as she patted Perry on the back. "Megan, you just 
heard that----"
     The Irish vampire shook her head. "Lass, ye don't get it. When I was 
brought across, the
changes were physical, for the most part. I still have my mind, my soul, I'm 
still Megan Maguire.
But for your ex and friend, when they were turned, a demon took over their 
bodies. It's not them,
Perry. It's really not."
     "That surprisingly doesn't help," Perry said as he suddenly rose up and 
walked to the
door. Valerie moved to follow him as Megan rolled her eyes. *Lord, get a 
room and get it over
with.*
 
     "Perry, wait," Valerie stated. She sped up to catch up with him as he 
stopped in place to face
her. She could see a light sheen of tears in his eyes that made her stomach 
clench. "Perry...I'm
sorry. I know you must feel bad..."
     "Bad?" Perry let out a mirthless laugh. "This is way beyond bad, Val. 
And what makes it
worse is that I have no possible handle on it. It's not like I can quote 
something like *Along Came
a Spider,* James Patterson, 1992, where Alex Cross finds out his FBI lover 
is behind the
kidnapping scheme or *Nobody Lives Forever,* Stanley Gardner, 1986 where 
James Bond gets
betrayed by about three different people but this is my LIFE, Valerie!" He 
paused to wipe at his
face. "I just saw a woman I used to love and a man I've known for years as 
soulless monsters, ready and willing to kill me no matter what." He shook his
head. "I can't 
just...get over that."
     Valerie was silent for a moment before speaking. "Everyone's lost 
someone, Perry. All
those people in there have. Matt and Megan have seen friends and lovers grow 
old and die. Shaw
lost family, Faith and Kendra grew up without theirs and my God, Zev lost 
his entire planet.
Everyone knows guilt and loss, Perry. It's how you handle it that ensures 
what kind of person you
are and what fate has in store for you."
     Perry sighed. "It's hard to figure any way to get through this."
     Valerie shrugged. "Well, it's what Elsie, Brenda and Annie got their 
lives back on track
after getting dumped."
     Perry stared at her quizzically.
     "*The First Wives' Club.* Olivia Goldsmith, 1992."
     Perry stared harder.
     "Hey, I read."
     Perry just sighed and turned away. Valerie stared at his back for a 
moment, then turned
and walked back into the house. Perry crossed his arms and stared at his 
feet. His mind whirled as
he thought about his time with Beth, the good and the bad. He couldn't help 
but note the amazing
irony of it all. The major reason Beth had broken up with him was because 
she felt he spent too
much time working with dead bodies. Now, she was one.
     "Was it a good marriage?"
     Perry yelled as he turned to see Zev standing behind him. "God, can't 
you warn
someone?"
     "Why?" Zev crossed his arms as he studied Perry. "You didn't answer my 
question."
     Perry sighed and brushed his hair. "It was. For a while at least. 
But...it didn't last." He
looked away sadly. "Look, if you just came here to tell me to try to get 
past the pain, save it. I
know that already."
     "Oh, good, that saves us time."
     "I just won't do it."
     "Dare I ask why?"
     Perry shrugged. "I got too involved with them already. With Matt, 
Alice, Jesse,
Kyra...Val. They're my friends."
     Zev frowned. "And that's a bad thing?"
     Perry fixed him with a glare. "I don't need friends, Zev. I don't 
deserve them. I just end up
hurting people."
     Zev snorted. "Jurden, and people say I'm a downer."
     "It's true," Perry insisted. "Just about every personal relationship 
I've had has gone down
the tubes, mostly after shit I did. So, after my divorce, I decided it was 
better if I just didn't get
close to anyone anymore."
     Zev raised an eyebrow. "That's a lonely life, Perry."
     "Loneliness is a very underrated concept." Perry looked away. "I can't 
hurt anyone if I
don't know anyone."
     "That's not true," Zev said. "You're hurting yourself. I know about 
loneliness brought on
by guilt, Perry. Believe, I know far more than anyone else on this planet 
can. And I too thought it
best not to connect with others." He stepped forward to look at Perry 
closely. "But since I came
here, Perry, I've met people. People who have made me realize what I was 
cheating myself out of.
People who have accepted me, trusted me, helped me. And it's good, Perry. 
It's a good feeling,
better than I had imagined."
     Perry stared at him for a long moment before shaking his head. "Anyone 
ever tell you how
big a pain in the ass you are, Mundac?"
     "Only every other person I've met since I came to this planet," Zev 
responded with a small
smile.
 
     Megan was doing her best to clean some blood off her coat when Alice, 
Kyra and Jesse
entered the living room. Alice glanced around. "Where's Perry and Val?"
     "Perry left a few minutes ago, guess Val went with," Megan stated.
     Kyra frowned. "Are they safe on their own?"
     "They're not alone," Steve said. "I told Sherlock to tail them."
     Alice blinked. "Um...no offense but what good is your dog going to be 
against them?"
     Steve smiled. "What if I told you he was capable of turning into a 
giant wolf?"
 
     "I think I'd like to buy back my introduction to you people."
     "Too late," Zev said as he entered. He looked at the teenagers and 
nodded. "Well, I see
you survived your patrol. My compliments."
     "The vamps weren't too bad," Kyra tried to casually say.
     "I meant surviving your first night with them," Zev said, motioning 
toward the Sunnydale
teens. "You can do that, you can do most anything."
     "We're not that bad," Randi said.
     "Maybe not you," Alice remarked. She fixed her eyes on Xander and 
Cordelia. "But
hanging out with those two makes me glad I never hung out with the 
good-looking but brain-dead
crowd at school."
     "Hey, watch it!" Cordelia snapped. "You're starting to sound like Zev!"
     "After hanging out with you two for half the night, I think I *know* 
why Zev's the way
he is!" Alice yelled back.
     "I have to admit," Jesse said. "You people could learn a lot if you 
just installed filters
between your mouth and brains." He paused and nodded to Oz. "Well, actually, 
you have a dam."
     The guitarist just shrugged as Willow frowned. "Hey, we can be tactful 
if we need to be!"
     Zev burst into a loud and braying laugh that caused everyone to jump. 
"God, I hate it
when he does that!" Buffy yelled.
     Zev smirked as he wiped at his eyes. "Well, be grateful Harris isn't 
amusing."
     Jesse snickered himself as he looked at Xander. "Yeah, dude, seriously. 
Gallagher wants his
material back."
     Xander glowered at him. "Oh, sure, the beach boy is giving me tips on 
humor. Like you've
got skills besides surfing!"
     "I do. I skateboard too."
     Kyra rubbed at her head. "Okay, can we not start this? It's been a long 
night already, Alice
is still on edge and I think the last thing we need is to let the 
testosterone be flashed."
     "Good idea," Alice said as she tromped toward the front door. "Come on, 
let's check that
Bronze place out before we head back to the motel."
     "You guys okay on your own?" Buffy asked.
     "We're Immortal," Kyra pointed out. "Besides, what are----"
     Jesse clamped a hand over her mouth. "Don't tempt fate," he said just 
before yelling as
Kyra bit his hand.
     Cordelia snorted. "So you're just going to drown your sorrows?"
     Alice paused and fixed her with a hard gaze. "Tell you what, Chase. 
Next time you cut off
someone's head and absorb 600 years worth of memories, you can join me. In 
the meantime,
please piss off." With that, she turned and marched off.
     "I still would have liked talking to Xander," Jesse remarked.
     "Ah, it wouldn't be fair," Kyra said, patting him on the shoulders. 
"When it comes to a
battle of wits, you've got him outgunned."
     Zev leaned against the wall, watching them leave and rubbing at his 
chin. He glanced
toward the others in the room. "You know," he said in a bright tone. "I'm 
really starting to like
those three."
     He couldn't resist a slight kick at the looks of dismay that welcomed 
that proclamation.
 
 
Sunnydale Motor Lodge
2358 Hours PST
 
     The walk had been in total silence. Perry didn't want to say anything 
and Valerie didn't
want to press him. He'd kept his head down for most of the time, kicking at 
loose rocks and such,
his face drawn and his usual humor vanished. Frankly, it was starting to 
worry Valerie quite a bit.
     As the motel came into view, she decided it was time to try talking. 
"Look, Perry-----"
     "Not now," he said in a bitter tone.
     Valerie sighed. "Perry, you can't just close up here like nothing 
happened."
     "I just...don't want to talk about it, Valerie," he said, waving a 
hand. "I just want to go in,
shower, sleep and try to forget about...them."
     "Aw, Perry...am I that hard to forget?"
     The two froze as they heard the voice behind them. They slowly turned 
to see Beth, her
game face on with a wicked grin. She stepped forward carefully, licking her 
lips. "Come on,
honey...I was so looking forward to us rekindling the flame."
     Perry and Valerie began to back away, eyes fixed on the vampire. 
"Beth..." Perry began.
"Let's just...just talk about this..."
     "Why?" she briskly replied. "Talking never did that much for us when we
were 
married. Why
should this be any different?"
     Valerie stiffened as she felt her back running into a solid form. She 
peered around and saw
Johnny standing behind her with a sick grin on his face. He grabbed Valerie 
and tossed her aside
like a rag doll. The Watcher slammed into some nearby bushes and lay on the 
ground, stunned.
     Perry's attention was fixed on Val so he didn't even see Beth approach 
until it was too
late. She hauled back and let loose a blow that sent Perry stumbling 
backward. He shook his head
to try to clear it as he gazed at her. "I heard about the kids...how 
did...tell me you didn't..."
     Beth laughed. "Ah, kids. You raise them, feed them, try to care for 
them but do they put
up with a little lifestyle change?" She lashed a boot into Perry's stomach, 
doubling him over.
"Maggie made a nice snack. Virgin blood is good but when it's a kid, it's 
even better. I tried to
get at Sandy but she wouldn't stop screaming and screaming. You know how 
six-year olds are.
So I snapped her neck." She stood Perry up and punched him so hard his head 
rang. "That left
Marty and Johnny was hungry for that himself."
     She held a stunned Perry up by the front of his jacket and looked him 
in the eye. "So, what
to do...Just feed you? Or maybe turn you? I have to admit, the idea of you 
and me getting back together is
intriguing." She let her fangs shine in the moonlight. "What do you think?"
     Perry coughed as one hand slid under his coat. "It's funny...I never 
really believed in
heaven or hell before...but I really hope the latter exists."
     Beth seemed intrigued. "Why?" She suddenly gasped as she felt a pain in 
her chest. She
looked down to see the point of a stake piercing her left breast. She looked 
up to see Perry's cold
and hateful expression. "Because that's where you belong," the coroner 
hissed as he thrust the
stake in. Beth backed up, her face carrying surprise just before she turned 
into dust.
     Johnny had been holding back a bit, enjoying the sight of Beth smacking 
Perry around. He
was stunned to see his lover suddenly destroyed, frozen in place. Then anger 
took him and he
charged toward Perry, a howl at his lips.
     He was almost at Perry when he saw a blur of motion and something in 
front of his path.
He barely felt the effect of the stake that he literally ran into. He 
actually kept going for a few
steps before breaking apart, a cloud of dust flying into Perry's face.
     Perry stared at himself, then at Valerie, who still stood with her arm 
extended, stake in her
hand. She seemed as stunned as Perry at what had happened, their eyes 
meeting. Perry brushed at
the dust on his shirt and shook his head. "He never did know when to stop. 
Never."
 
 
 
     Perry opened the door and turned on the light to illuminate the small 
motel room. Valerie
was behind him, shutting and locking the door behind her. She removed her 
blazer, pausing to
shake some dust off it before looking at Perry, who had sat on the edge of 
the bed, holding his
head in his hands. "Perry?" she quietly asked. "Perry, are you ok?"
     "Oh, sure," he dully replied. "I just staked my ex-wife and my best 
friend, my world's my
fucking oyster."
     "They were vampires," Valerie said, not believing she was actually 
saying it. "Creatures
 
 that were going to kill us. You didn't have a choice, you know that."
     "It doesn't make it right," Perry snapped as he got to his feet. "It 
doesn't make it hurt any
less! Dammit, Valerie, this is not what I wanted, I wanted to stop hurting 
her and I ended up
killing her!" He rubbed his face as Valerie moved closer. "I can't process 
this, I can't put a handle
on it, I don't know how to cope with-----"
     Valerie strode forward, cupped his face in her hands and pulled him as 
she kissed him on
the lips. He was startled even as he instinctively kissed her back, his 
hands going to her hips. They
broke apart and stared at each other. "What are you doing?" Perry asked.
     "Coping." With that, Valerie kissed him again, even harder and Perry 
could feel the
passion driving her, a passion that he soon felt himself. They backed toward 
the bed as Valerie
fumbled with the buttons on his shirt.
     Perry suddenly broke away to look her in the eye. "Um, I have to know. 
Is this just a one-
 
night stand to make me feel better? Or is it...something more?"
     "Damned if I know," Valerie answered as she kissed him again. "We'll 
talk about it in."
Kiss. "The." Kiss. "Morning." Kiss.
     "Oh." Kiss. "Okay."
     With that, they fell onto the bed and spent the next several hours 
doing their best to make
the other feel better.
 
 
Main Street
September 7th, 1999
0008 Hours PST
 
 
     After nearly a decade of living on the streets, Suzanne Baker thought 
she had seen every
danger there could possibly be. However, she now realized that not even L.A. 
gave her horrors
such as she was know witnessing.
     It was ironic, really. She had become used to being invisible to 
people. In her forties, her
hair going gray, face showing dirt, age and the weight of too many years on 
her own. Her body
was thin, clad in various items of clothing and rags, a shopping cart her 
only set of belongings.
Just another homeless person people ignored. Now, when she needed to be 
noticed, no one was
around to help.
     The two beings who had cornered her in the dark alley were tall with 
dark green skin and
large horns, ringlets in their nostrils and large claws on their hands. They 
wore loose clothing and
their faces were marked by oversized mouths with long sharp teeth. One 
smiled as he stepped
toward Suzanne. "Ah, just when we thought we'd be going back empty-handed, 
we find a nice
morsel for our leader."
     Suzanne whimpered as she stepped back. "Please...please, just let me 
go...I..I don't want
to die..." It was an ironic statement given how she'd turned her back on 
life long ago, after the
death of her husband and bankruptcy. But Suzanne realized it was true...she 
didn't want to die.
*Too bad that realization comes a tad late.*
     "Let her go," a strong voice spoke out. The two demons turned to see a 
woman standing
at the head of the alley. She looked to be in her mid-forties wearing a 
business suit with
fashionable flats and a duster. Her attractive face was hard as she glared 
at the two demons.
     The older of the two laughed. "Oh, really? And what are you going to do 
if we don't?"
     In response, the woman reached under her coat and pulled out a large 
and old-looking
double broadsword. The blade seemed to glow with a deep blue light as the 
two demons paled.
"By Satan!" the other one said. "Not one of the NINE!"
     The woman aimed the sword and whispered under her breath. The blade 
glowed and a
blast of fiery energy shot out to engulf one demon. The monster howled as 
the flames covered
him all over and proceeded to incinerate him from the inside out. The other 
demon snarled and
stormed at the woman, determined to take one of the Nine down with him. The 
woman simply
stood until he was almost upon her. Then she ducked down and swung her sword 
upward in a
wide cleaving motion that sliced the demon from head to toe. She spun and 
rose to her feet as the
creature collapsed, his body splitting apart.
     Suzanne stared in amazement as the woman hid her sword away, then 
turned to face her.
"All you all right, madam?"
     Suzanne blinked. "How...how did you----"
     The woman chuckled. "You would be surprised what one learns in the 
East. But here..."
She reached into her jacket again and brought out a small pouch. "Find 
yourself someplace to
sleep, child. You deserve better than this."
     Suzanne opened the bag and stared in awe at the large collection of 
gold coins inside. She
looked up but the woman had vanished. Suzanne held up a few coins and let 
them flow from her
fingers. "Thank you," she whispered as she quickly moved away, her mind 
already whirling at the
new life she could make for herself.
     "You're welcome," whispered the woman from her place in hiding. She 
brushed at her
coat as she went back for her walk, her mind preparing for the meeting that 
was to take place the
next day.